Winner: Thunderhead with Thunderhead Document Generation Framework

Regulators have been vocal in their concern over the back office processing of over-the-counter derivatives and the judges were keenly aware of the problems that this can pose for the investment banks requiring streamlined, automated processes. Thunderhead has developed its system on open standards and around XML to allow documents to be created by business users that fit into a straight-through-processing environment. In partnering with the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC), Thunderhead has ensured the system produces financial product mark-up language messages that can be used for real-time derivatives trade matching with the DTCC. Given the immediate pressure on business and the potential cost of replacing manual processing and in-house processing systems, it would seem there is a healthy appetite for the system. Beyond those needs, it also reduces production time, risk and error rates through the re-use of content, allows documents to be generated in different formats for transmission across channels and through its open standards foundations, remains compatible with other platforms (trading and operational) to limit integration issues. A proven group of users cemented the judgement in this category.


Winner: Sophis with Sophis Structure Builder

The ability to structure complex products rapidly is vital for any investment bank that wishes to capitalise on the potential margins available. As Sophis notes: “The true motor for innovation… is the margin.” And that makes its Structure Builder well motivated. The architecture is object-oriented, built in such a way that traders can develop their own trade structure more rapidly than would previously have been possible. The focus in development was to create a user-friendly application to facilitate this. Most importantly for such a system, it is built securely and with the ability to handle the sizeable calculations necessary to produce new structures, a partnership with Datasynapse adding to its grid computing capabilities. Notably, the system takes advantage of the latest developments in parallelisation that allow a number of tasks to be run simultaneously, thus speeding up the process of CPU intensive calculations (for example, Monte Carlo). Using the flexibility of spreadsheets to replace hard-coding when implementing formulas, traders are given relatively straightforward tools while working in an auditable system, reducing the risks that are inherent in such flexible environments. A clearly business-driven solution that not only demonstrates innovation within itself, it also encourages innovation in the front office.


Winner: Progress Software Corporation with Progress Apama EventStore and Research Studio

Testing is crucial in the trading organisation if it is to have confidence in its strategies. Progress has developed EventStore to capture data from a variety of sources preserving its temporal order in real time. In allowing many sources of data to be combined in a single time-series repository (rather than using a ‘tick database’ that is limited to a single source) and working with the Research Studio, it can be used to check the potential performance of trading strategies against historical data. Particular sources can be selected to run against strategies so that cross-asset strategies can be tested, time periods can be specified and the speed at which analysis is carried out can be adjusted to increase processing levels or allow more detailed work. Our panel saw real value in the product and looks forward to seeing implementation results in the future.

Highly commended: FNX Solutions with Aspen Hedge


Winner: Credit Suisse and Relegence with Relegence Connect

Taking an in-house research analyst tool to the buy-side, Credit Suisse has developed a proprietary database of company relationships to assist with filtering information that investors use to try to anticipate investment opportunities. Realising that a company announcement has significant impacts along its ‘food chain’ – reflecting suppliers, competition and customers – and that this is a strong source for a unique opportunity, the bank worked with system supplier Relegence to map it out. Relegence takes structured and unstructured data from more than 20,000 global information services in multiple languages, monitoring indexing and filtering content from numerous feeds. Its search system then gives access to relevant content. Credit Suisse integrated its database of corporate relationships with the search system to allow derivative news alerts to be delivered to users that are matched to relevant company information, giving the wider view of the impact of an announcement. The partnership has given Credit Suisse’s internal users added value and should be rolled out to its buy-side clients’ advantage in the near future. A real opportunity spotted – the panel commented that the “gathering of this data to give an aggregated market intelligence perspective was a great example of the innovation we’re looking for”.

Highly commended: Citigroup and Panopticon with Citigroup’s Visualisation Treemapping


Winner: Citigroup with Citigroup Swift Messaging

Developed by Citigroup over a two-year period, this was an excellent example of applying innovation to improve business value. ISSAC (Integrated SWIFTNet Services Access for Citigroup) allows any of the bank’s business applications to either offer or access any SWIFTNet-based service for Citigroup by acting as middleware to connect to SWIFT across an enterprise. This prevents changes to and details of SWIFTNet from directly affecting applications, allowing them to focus on carrying out their business tasks. The architecture has been developed on J2EE standards that run on standard application servers, making it platform agnostic. Reconfiguraton of the system, for example changing workflows, is easily achieved through the user interface. Having built the system with scalability and resilience in mind, the two years of research and development put into this project have born fruit, giving Citigroup enhanced connectivity, reduced costs and connectivity issues, and decreased time-to-market for messaging solutions.


All fields are mandatory

The Banker is a service from the Financial Times. The Financial Times Ltd takes your privacy seriously.

Choose how you want us to contact you.

Invites and Offers from The Banker

Receive exclusive personalised event invitations, carefully curated offers and promotions from The Banker

For more information about how we use your data, please refer to our privacy and cookie policies.

Terms and conditions

Request a demonstration to The Banker Database

Join our community

The Banker on Twitter